A picture is worth 1000 words. Reality or not. It evokes a strong feeling.
This is the picture of myself that I carry in my head. My fantasy reality. I have no idea where I first saw the picture. Undoubtedly online, because I copied it and put it in my Inspiration folder. (I would love to credit the artist. She has captured my inner self.) This is how I advertise myself to me.
I’ve never had red hair. Never attempted to stand on the seat of my bike. Only fantasize about a little travel camper. And it has been decades since I was so thin. But oh, how I feel that spirit! That sense of freedom and independence and the world is mine! I’ve bought into the advertisement!
That inner woman hovers near my surface. Each night when I go to bed, she has plans for the next day’s adventures. Full of energy and wilfulness. She plans the sunrise hikes. The lions and rhinos that will be photographed. The coral reefs that she will swim over. The exciting strangers who will become friends. It all leads to wonderful dreams!
My reality is much closer to the ladies on the right (though my new knees are not as agile). I AM a senior citizen!
This reality really struck home last week on a trip to Boston. Walking this most walkable of cities, I realized that I could no longer set the pace for foot traffic. I was the turtle that everyone was passing. As I entered Symphony Hall for a morning concert rehearsal, I was astounded to find myself in the midst of hundreds of OLD people! What happened?
Reality check. Only retired folks would be going to a Thursday morning concert; retired folks tend to be older than the free wheeling woman in my self-portrait!
That realization haunted me for days.
Always a day dreamer; believer in magic, love at first sight and lottery tickets, I really am fairly well grounded. I know that I am 67. Overweight. Gray haired. Arthritic. And ever the optimist. I’ve never been depressed about my age. I’ve never wished I could turn the clock back. I would not be the woman I am without ALL of my life experiences. I don’t know that age has brought me wisdom. After all, I am still picturing that free wheeling young lady as ME.
I’ve never thought much about the ages of my friends. We are friends because of common interests and enthusiasms for life, our community, art and food. Our ages range from 25 – 75. We move in a variety of social circles that overlap in many ways. Committee work. Attending plays. Dining out. Holidays. Walking. Biking. Dieting. Sharing books. Griping about politics. Volunteering. Learning. My life is rich with people. And I am sure each of us has an inner picture, a beautiful self-portrait, that inspires us.
Though I know that I will never stand on the bike seat, my reality is the gray-haired old lady under the table who dreams of adventures and occasionally climbs out of her books to challenge the world and look for magic. That picture is my life.